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San Francisco International Airport

The Center for Business Analytics is pleased to recognize San Francisco International Airport as an honoree of the 2023 Drexel LeBow Analytics 50 Awards. Read more about how San Francisco International Airport used analytics to solve a business challenge.


Eunice Au-Yeung, Principal Data Services Engineer


San Francisco International Airport


Government, Transportation

Business Challenge

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) implemented various measures to enhance taxi operations, aiming to optimize supply, reduce wait times for passengers and drivers, and enable drivers to serve fares in the city when not at the airport. The key objective was to reduce the number of taxis in the holding lot, freeing up parking slots for public use and increasing parking revenue.

Analytics Solution

SFO has developed an in-house solution called Taxi Virtual Queue (TaxiVQ). This digitally managed waiting list allowed taxi drivers to reserve their spot when supply was needed, optimizing resource utilization. Staff in the holding lot efficiently managed the supply based on real-time demand data. Operational data is collected and analyzed, enabling SFO to optimize taxi demand and supply by analyzing peak conditions and adjusting accordingly. Historical data was utilized to forecast future demand patterns, and daily operational profiles were created. Key performance indicators (KPIs) — such as number of drivers and wait time in the holding lot, driver trips per day and driver participation — were monitored using the collected data.

The analytics insights yielded positive outcomes. Drivers earned more money by increasing the number of trips from the airport, as they could service additional fares downtown while waiting to be called in from the virtual queue. This attracted more taxi drivers to participate in the program.


KPI dashboards demonstrated a 70 percent reduction in the number of taxis waiting in the holding lot and over 80 percent decrease in the time spent there. Taxi operators received more than 60 percent of their daily fares from the airport, allowing SFO to recover 75 percent of the taxi parking slots, which were repurposed for public parking, resulting in increased parking revenue. By leveraging historical data and effectively managing taxi supply, SFO improved taxi operations at the airport, ensuring passenger demand was adequately met.